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I survived my first month of grad school! Here’s how…

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

It’s been a little over a month since graduate school has been in full swing. Now that I’ve gotten the hang of the T, the transit schedules and the eccentric teaching styles of some professors, I am bursting to say, I LOVE IT. That’s right. You got me, world. I admit it: I LOVE SCHOOL. I love the chaos, the stresses of impending deadlines, making sure I read the right chapters from my 2014 edition Media Law textbook, and the works. I love it all. I forgot how great it is to be back in the classroom. But did I ever stop and think about WHY exactly I love school, aside from having a sick sort of fetish for the anxiety and stress?

As student in the Journalism grad program, I am currently enrolled in 16 credits (actually, 14 since the Multimedia boot camp class is finally over after two full, grueling weekends). As for the rest of my schedule, I am happy to say I’m thoroughly enjoying all of my classes; however, there are a couple that especially stand out for me.

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I love my Journalism Principles & Techniques course. Every day we’re treated like we’re thrown into a newsroom and forced to approach every assignment as though we are real-life reporters. At first I was extremely intimidated by the class, but I soon realized this course will probably be one of the most important, practical courses I will take during my time at BU. Criticism is a daily part of our routine, but nonetheless, it’s what improves us as budding journalists and future reporters. I raise my hand at every chance to volunteer to have my paper read and critiqued in front of the entire class, something that the undergrad me would have never dreamed of having the guts to do; but here, there’s no such thing as a comfort zone. Journalism Print & Tech shoves us out there in the open and sees if we fight back. So far, I think I’m fighting back pretty well.

Media Law–this is probably the course for which I do the most work and real studying (don’t tell my other professors). This course is more academic, theory based, whereas most of my other classes are more practical and hands on. Media Law definitely intimidated the daylights out of me, and I struggled to keep up with the material in class for the first two weeks of the semester. I literally didn’t know what was going on the first few classes, and when I tried opening my copy of “Major Principles of Media Law”, safe to say, I didn’t understand a single word in the first chapter. Defenses against libel and slander? What’s that? What the heck is a “ride-along”? I knew right away this wasn’t a class that I could just “skate on by” without having to do much studying; it’s a lot of reading and constant reviewing. I’ve been repeating this to my classmates every day…you just can’t cram for a class like Media Law. It’s the same way you can’t cram for things like math or physics or chemistry back in the good old undergrad days. You have to constantly practice, be proactive, and stay on top of the reading. I had a feeling that amidst all of the practical courses I’m was taking, one would require me to dust off that old school method of studying from undergrad.

After I bombed my first “surprise” quiz (yep, we are subjected to those every week and so we’re always constantly on the edge of our seats), I decided it would be in my best interest to meet with the professor. With his help and some time, I eventually discovered the secrets behind skimming, pinpointing the vital concepts, applying the textbook material to the lectures in class, and the importance of participating during lecture. Now I’m proud to say I think I’ve got the hang of Media Law. See, these are all basic rules of old-fashioned education…we did this during college, and grad school is no different.

So far, my classes in graduate school have helped me realize that the mechanics you learn throughout your whole life can be utilized beyond college and post-graduate work. There will always be challenges, and a Masters program is no cakewalk. You have to bite the bullet, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty. Time management is so important, whether you’re juggling three different jobs plus a full load of classes, or having assignment after assignment after assignment; it’s up to you whether you fight back or not. It’s your responsibility to know what’s going on in class and most of all understand what you’re really here for. That’s right…it’s about YOU. Ask yourself why you’re here, and perhaps that’ll remind you of the levels and magnitudes of success that you have the potential to reach, once you know why you’re willing to put in the effort.

I used to think going to school was a chore, something to complete because that’s what was expected of me. I wanted to stick it to the man… stick it to the establishment, or the power-that-be. BU COM has changed all of that, fortunately. You know that old cliché: “if you love what you do, you literally don’t work a single day in your life.” Whoever invented that phrase, they weren’t kidding. Graduate school really reminds me of that. You literally have to love being here, and you have to love what you are doing. Not a single person goes into any of our classes dreading lecture or dreading an assignment. Nobody is annoyed at how busy their schedules are. Everyone wants to be here. They are proactive, responsible, and brilliant. It is nothing like college where we’d always whine, “Man, forget that 8 a.m. I have to go to tomorrow, I’m just going to blow it off and sleep in” or “I’m way too hungover for class…do you want to go in there and sign the roll sheet for me?” None of that here! If you aren’t making the most of your class lectures, textbook materials and aren’t interested in how to get one step closer to success, then what on earth are you doing here? Given all the time and money we are investing in grad school, we better make sure we take advantage of the exclusive opportunities being served to us on a silver platter.

image1 (1)But, before I go, please do NOT think grad school is all work and no play. Although I have deadlines to fight and surprise quizzes to constantly be on the lookout for, I know it’s important to set aside time to still maintain a social life and do fun things around the city (but only after I finished my homework!). Thank goodness we aren’t stuffy academics who spend hours in research labs. We’re expected to be social, to go out and open up to others, interact with peers and most of all, have fun with what we’re doing. As a journalist, you can’t afford to be a shy introvert or afraid to be around people. So yes, you are allowed to (or in this case, implored) to have a life! It all starts with your attitude and again, as I mentioned before, time management. Having a healthy balance between everything is a great way to know that you have it all together. Forget that triangle of doom that made you choose between a social life versus good grades versus sleep. You can ace every category, as long as you know how to organize yourself.

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How did your first month of grad school go? Please share any funny stories or survival tips in the comment section below.

Not a College of Communication student? Tell us what program(s) you are interested in and why!

Parents weekend

There’s Parents Weekend in grad school? What to do with your out-of-town guests in Boston

 By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

Even though it feels like the semester just got started, Parents Weekend is right around the corner (October 17-19)! New to Boston and wondering where in the world you are going to take your parents? Allow this BU veteran to help.

By now, most of us grad students have had our fair share of parents weekends.  Like most schools, BU has plenty of scheduled events and seminars throughout the weekend; but in general, they cater to the undergraduate crowd – such as the “Parenting Panel: Parenting During the College Years.  However, there will be an art exhibition at the College of Fine Arts’ Stone Gallery, a Movie Walking Tour of campus, and several other free events fit for graduate students and their parents.  See the full schedule of events here.

Looking for a little more action? See our Men’s Hockey team take on the U.S. National Under-18 team on Saturday at 7 p.m. in an exhibition match.  Just be sure to get your tickets in advance here.

Once you’ve had your fill of activities around campus, be sure to give your parents a solid snapshot of your new Boston home.

Fenway is both close to home and a Boston classic.  Just across the bridge from Kenmore, Fenway offers a glimpse at one of America’s most famous baseball institutions.  Not to mention the surrounding bars and restaurants.  My recommendations include Bar Louie for amazing appetizers, Landsdowne Pub for the atmosphere and Sweet Cheeks for barbecue.

Newbury Street is an absolute must if your family is even slightly interested in shopping and good food.  Newbury has stores for everyone, starting at Massachusetts Avenue with stores like Urban Outfitters and Forever 21, stretching all the way down to the Commons with high-end retailers such as Diane von Furstenberg.  Peppered along the way are all types of restaurants, including Joe’s American Bar and Grill, Stephanie’s and The Cafeteria.  You really can’t go wrong.  Once you reach the end of Newbury, be sure to enjoy the scenery at the Boston Commons and Public Gardens.  This is the best time of year to do so, while the leaves are turning and it’s not too terribly cold yet.

Want to take the tourist route? Walk your parents along the Freedom Trail and see the historical Faneuil Hall to get a taste of the rich history Boston has to offer. If you get hungry, grab a lobster roll from Quincy Market and check out even more shops and restaurants along the way.  And, if there’s time, get in line at Giacomo’s in the famous North End before 4 p.m. to experience some of the best authentic Italian food that Boston has to offer.  And don’t forget to stop by Modern Pastry for dessert.

What are your plans for Parents Weekend? Have any other recommendations or questions on how to entertain your out-of-town guests? Let us know in the comments section!

 

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Classmates and competition in grad school

By Keiko Talley
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

One of the greatest aspects of grad school is the friends you make during your time. Instantly, you find a group of people that are going through the same thing as you, so you befriend them. The people around you offer to review your work and let you know what you need to add or take out before submitting it. Everyone is in the same-pressured situation as you, so it’s easy to quickly form a bond that continues to grow stronger, like a family.

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I met some of the greatest friends my first month here at Boston University, and for that, I could not be more thankful. When one of us is down, the others are always there to pick us up. When we all have the same project to do, it turns into a night with dinner and homework, spent laughing way more than students should be while doing homework. Everyone within the program is more than willing to help each other out; they’re the ones I call to go out with on the weekends, and the same ones I ask to reread my work.

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But then you go home and think about why you’re in grad school and the job you want in a year or so. Suddenly, you can see your competition; she’s the girl sitting across from you in class with the nice outfit and perfect makeup. She is also the same girl you just went to the bar with last weekend. You look to your left, and you see more of your competition. He is Mr. Personality with great hair that everyone loves. He is also one of the guys you had lunch with yesterday. The friends you make in the classroom are also the competition you face in the field. “Look around, these people are going to be your friends. But these people are also your competition,” my TA said on the first day of class.

When I first heard her say that, I chuckled, as I found it hard to believe we would one: all become good friends and two: compete with each other. Sadly, it’s the truth. Mr. Personality may be one of the funniest friends I have here at BU, but he is also the one that’s going to apply to that position at the Boston Globe when you apply too.

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Although at the end of the day, this unique friendship-phenomenon has its advantages. That competitiveness we find within grad school, subconsciously motivates us to better ourselves; run faster, swim harder, speak better, smile bigger. Grad school gives you a sense of healthy competition. You’re competitive with your friends because you want to do better, but you are also friends with your competition. You’re able to learn from each other and grow together as a unit, which will bring you one step closer to that dream job after graduation.

If you’re a graduate student here at COM, I would love to hear any of your stories or thoughts on befriending your competition! Not a graduate student, but interested in becoming part of our COM family here at BU? Learn more about our graduate programs by visiting our website.

BU COM celebrates its 100th Anniversary with COM Talks

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

It’s been a great past week for Boston University’s College of Communication (COM). With the celebration of the program’s 100th anniversary, COM hosted a number events that honored its alumni, students, staff and faculty. This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend COM Talks, an event not too different from the ever so influential TED Talks, which have been making such a huge difference in people’s lives. These talks reach millions nationwide, informing them of ideas worth sharing, ranging from “Why a good book is a secret door,” to the controversies of gender violence. At BU, we’ve developed our own, unique style of a Talk event but with the same idea in mind: connecting and communicating the ideas worth sharing.

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At the event, COM featured a superstar panel of experts in their respective fields of mass communication and journalism. Each speaker shared their personal experiences, what their roles in this industry mean to them and how every story we report leaves a mark everywhere and affects the way society functions. Each speaker reminded us of what roles we take on as both the reader and the reporter.  As each speaker shared his/her message, one message remained consistent: Storytelling is the heart of what COM does and it gives every individual an opportunity to connect with audiences. This event brought the best alumni and faculty to demonstrate the craft of true storytelling.

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This is a candid photo that my friend and fellow blogger Keiko Talley took while I was waiting in line to meet the Senior Vice President of HBO, Jay Roewe, a BU alumnus and producer of many major hit shows such as “The Newsroom” and the show that’s taken the entire world by force, “Game of Thrones”. Needless to say, I was absolutely stoked. Not to mention, absolutely star struck. I don’t usually get too fangirly but, GAME OF THRONES?! Come ON!

He was just one of the few amazing people we got to meet and listen at COM Talks. It was definitely a panel of rock stars in the industry; from New York Times best-selling authors, to legal prosecutors, to those who worked for Good Morning America and my very own Media Law professor Dick Lehr, whose investigative reporting on the case of Whitey Bulger for the Boston Globe got turned into a Hollywood movie starring Johnny Depp, Sienna Miller, and Benedict Cumberbatch. This group of superb individuals that came to speak at the event were so impressive, and they all reiterated the same message reminding us why we chose journalism, and what we can do to utilize it as an important facet of society.

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At the end of the event, we were given a small card that forced us to go up to any of these speakers and ask them the questions printed on the card. I had to go up to an alumni and ask what their favorite course was at COM. That part was easy…I was already given something to ask. However, being forced to jump out of my comfort zone and overcome my shyness to reach out to these amazing people was another story. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of being in their presence, but I mustered up all the courage possible and did it. In turn, I had the privilege of meeting with our first COM Talk speaker Travis Roy (COM ’00), author of “Eleven Seconds” and former hockey player for the BU Terriers.

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Besides speaking with Mr. Jay Roewe, meeting with Travis Roy was definitely a personal highlight of the event.  His speech stood out to me for so many reasons. He came to BU in the fall of 1995 with a hockey scholarship, but a few weeks later on October 20th,  his life changed forever. Roy suffered an injury that left him a quadriplegic. On Saturday, Roy said it was at that challenging time in his life when he realized that as often as we may choose our challenges, other times, the challenges choose us. It isn’t about how much gets taken away from us, but rather, how we choose to respond and find what drives us forward, despite our obstacles. The core of Roy’s personal story was definitely emotional; as much as he kept pointing out the simplicity of his message, it was definitely the most profound.

IMG_2475What COM Talks helped me realize that every day we are here, we get more and more inspired and motivated. Whether we find the inspiration in our classes, the lectures or even the events that are put together for students, they all push us forward. Not only are there a lot of impressive individuals at COM worth getting to know, but there is also such a large pool of successful alumni always willing to help current students out. The event reminded me why I’m here, and the endless opportunities that await all of us even long after we leave.

Most of the speakers are all alumni who, at one point in their lives, were in our very shoes, trying to get the word out and deciding on their career paths. They were students just like us, hoping to make a mark on the industry someday. At the end of the day, as COM Talks reminded us, it’s about serving the public’s needs, discussing the truth, and making a difference.

 

Winners of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award offer advice for success

By Nikita Sampath
MS Broadcast Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

If you walked around BU’s campus this past week, you probably noticed the numerous events being hosted for BU Alumni, faculty, staff and students. BU was smart in planning these events at a time when new grads were settling in and most likely thinking about where their degree might take them. These events were designed to provide networking opportunities, teach and inspire; after attending COM’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, I can personally say, BU’s mission was accomplished.

2014 Distinguished Alumni from L-R: Cleveland O’Neal III (COM ’78), Cynthia Cordes (COM ’01), Will Lautzenheiser (CAS ’96, COM ’07) and Bill Simmons (COM ’93). Photo, Katherine Taylor. — with Cleveland O’Neal, Cynthia Phillips Cordes, William Lautzenheiser and Bill Simmons at Boston University College of Communication (BU COM).

At the event, celebrated on Thursday at the School of Management, COM students and faculty were actively interacting with the alumni over tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks. This year, COM honoured four of its alumni- – Cleveland O’Neal III, Cynthia Cordes, Bill Simmons and Will Lautzenheiser. Each of them had accomplished something from which we learned.

Cleveland O’Neal (COM ‘78), the first African American to produce a show on CBS, started out as an actor. While working on the CBS series, he built his own Emmy-nominated entertainment company, Connection III, from ground up. “Work hard” was his advice to students.
One step at a time.

Cynthia Cordes (COM ‘01) went from studying Journalism at COM to studying Law at Notre Dame. This year she featured on a national list of Top 250 Women in Litigation selected by Benchmark Litigation. She began her career with the U.S Department of of Justice where she led a task force on human trafficking. Now a partner at Husch Blackwell, she continues her anti-human trafficking efforts through the company’s Human Trafficking Legal Clinic, the first of its kind in the United States.
Be passionate about your work.

Bill Simmons (COM ‘97) is a name most American sports fans identify. He graduated with a degree in print journalism from COM but foresaw the potential of the internet even when his dad tried persuading him to stick to traditional print media. His blog The Sports Guy caught the attention of ESPN who hired him in 2001. Since then, he’s gone on to become the editor-in-chief of Grantland.com.
Trust your instincts.

Will Lautzenheiser (COM ‘07) was a student like one of us; he was fascinated by the Charles River and wanted to make a film about it. However, three years ago he lost his arms and legs to a deadly bacteria. At the event on Thursday, we watched his short documentary, Stumped, in which he featured and wrote. It tells the story of how he got used to his prosthetic legs and how he is now a stand-up, or sit-down comedian as he calls himself.
Life will give you lemons.

This BU alumni event was indeed a great way to begin the semester. It reminded us that hard work is the only way to success, and that we must make the most of networking opportunities.
Stay focused. Stay Inspired.